Candidates gush about wives as ideal first ladies

By the Associated Press | January 26, 2012 | 9:55 PM EST

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Winning the White House is a package deal, so the Republican presidential candidates are eager to talk up their spouses as ideal first ladies.

Each of the four contenders was asked during Thursday night's debate why his wife would be strong in the role.

Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum highlight their decades-long marriages and describe their spouses as wonderful mothers.

Romney says wife Ann's past battles with multiple sclerosis and breast cancer would make her an ambassador on health causes.

Gingrich, the only candidate married more than once, says his third wife, Callista, is a patron of the arts who has film production and children's books to her credit.